cover image Typhoon Toby

Typhoon Toby

R.L. Merrill. Dreamspinner, $14.99 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-64405-017-0

Merrill follows Hurricane Reese with a gritty contemporary that examines the horrific aftereffects of sexual abuse and the possibility of healing through love. After a no-strings, no-names affair in Bali, musician Toby Griffiths and therapist Spencer Hart return stateside, and their paths soon cross again at a Los Angeles fund-raiser. Toby was sexually abused while a college undergraduate, and he’s spent his adult life trying to avoid intimate relationships. Spencer, a psychotherapist, has his own demons, among them severe social anxiety and serious asthma. After they reconnect, Toby works through deep-seated issues and Spencer becomes the rock Toby so desperately needs. When one of Spencer’s clients attempts suicide, Toby finds healing in being able to share stories of his own suicide attempt. Slowly, both men begin to believe in a future together. While handled with exceptional sensitivity, the discussion of sexual assault and suicide may distress readers who have undergone similar ordeals—or may show them they’re not alone. With a strong plot, an expertly crafted cast of supporting characters, and deep empathy, Merrill’s novel will keep readers hooked. (Jan.)